Canada’s Post-Secondary Education Performance: An International Comparison

The Conference Board of Canada, 87 pages, September 1, 2017
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This updated look at the state of skills and post-secondary education compares Canada’s performance with 15 member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Document Highlights

This updated look at the state of skills and post-secondary education (PSE) compares Canada’s performance with 15  member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that are comparable to Canada in economic and social status. The report measures education performance metrics across inputs, outputs, and outcomes. Input indicators speak to resourcing and participation in the PSE system; outputs are education-specific metrics, such as educational attainment, that are directly ascribed to the PSE system; and outcomes are broader socio-economic indicators like employment. As a common nomenclature to describe and compare systems, we use UNESCO’s International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) definition of post-secondary education levels 5 to 8. Most of the data come from the OECD. The report concludes with six recommendations for Canada’s PSE system that would help make the system more competitive, efficient, and effective.

This report was prepared with financial support from The Conference Board of Canada’s Centre for Skills and Post-Secondary Education.

Table of Contents

Executive Summary

Chapter 1—Introduction and Methodology

Chapter 2—Inputs

  • Participation in Education
  • Parental Background and PSE Participation
  • Post-Secondary Education Expenditure
  • Conclusions

Chapter 3—Outputs

  • PSE Credentials
  • Share of Population With PSE Credentials
  • Application of Skills in Work
  • Qualification for Jobs
  • Conclusions

Chapter 4—Outcomes

  • Employment
  • Skills in Work
  • Wages and Returns to Education
  • Health and Social Outcomes
  • Conclusions

Chapter 5—Recommendations

  • Improve Student Retention
  • Increase the Number of Advanced-Research Degree Holders
  • Focus on Skills, Not Just Credentials
  • Improve Official Language Training for Immigrants
  • Increase Communication Between Industry and PSE Institutions
  • Improve Labour Market Information

Appendix A—Bibliography

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